Get In—We’re Customizing Chevy Express Vans While We Still Can

You can still build and spec an Express right on Chevy's website—in red, no less.
Rendering of a red Chevy Express van with options selected superimposed.
General Motors, The Drive

The Chevrolet Express van is so ubiquitous that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s some ancient automotive relic—but you’d be wrong. Not only is the Chevy Express commercial work van still on sale, but you can still customize it in Chevy’s online builder. So let’s celebrate a great American workhorse on America’s birthday by building the most kick-ass Chevy Express that we can.

It isn’t actually all that surprising that Chevy still allows customers to build and spec the Express van, even though it’s seemingly from the Paleolithic period. Since the Express van is a commercial work van that’s used in a wide variety of fields and industries, there are several variations to choose from. Different jobs have different needs, and the good old Chevy Express should have them all covered.

There are two types of Express to choose from—Express Cargo and Express Passenger van—and they’re pretty self-explanatory. The Cargo is, well, a cargo van. It only has two seats up front, while the rest of the interior is empty so that you can fit lots of stuff in it. The Passenger is made to fit people, so the back is filled with seats for up to 15 humans. Somehow, despite being on sale since the Earth cooled, the Chevy Express is still pretty pricey, starting at $45,880 for the most basic Cargo-spec. You can also get it in 2500 or 3500-spec, depending on how much weight you need to haul.

But today we’re building a hot-rod van, so we’re going with the two-door Express Cargo. Two engines are available: a 4.3-liter V6 or a 6.6-liter V8. Which do you think we’re choosing for our hot-rod van? After checking the box for the V8, you’ll notice there are actually four color choices. I’m not entirely positive I’ve ever seen a non-white Express before, but they’re as follows: Summit White, Black, Silver Ice Metallic, and … Red Hot! The latter has to be the choice, and we’re going to pair that red Express with the optional white 16-inch steel wheels. The gray cloth trim is also necessary, for extra butt-holding grip while driving at 10/10ths.

There are a variety of different options and packages to choose from, depending on what work it’s going to be doing. There’s a hotel shuttle package, a paratransit package, a safety package, and so much more. But since our hot-rod van is only going to be stealing hearts and laying 11s on the tarmac, we’re skipping almost all of ’em, except for the automatic locking rear differential.

You can get much newer work vans from almost any automaker, such as Ford, Nissan, and even Mercedes. And yet the Chevy Express remains a popular option for so many businesses and industries, despite having first gone on sale in 1996. Even more interesting is that it could continue to live on past its original 2026 end date. I, for one, hope it lives forever.

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